Thyroid & TBI
From my perspective, thyroid issues are often undetected, and if detected a person needs to fight tooth and nail with many health care practitioners to get the situation under control. This is so sad. Proper thyroid function is necessary if a person is to have the best quality of life in regards to health.
When I sustained my first head injury (TBI) in 1998, I was also subject to whiplash. The whiplash among other things caused problems for my thyroid. WAS THIS A BIG DEAL? You bet it was. Here is why.
- My hair grew dryer and got more brittle until it pretty much fell out.
- My eyelashes fell out.
- My eyebrows lost all the hair on the outer arch.
- Dry skin, very puffy face, hoarse and always trying to clear my throat.
- WEIGHT GAIN… no need to say more.
- COLD: Wearing jackets and sweaters when everyone else is wearing t- shirts or bathing suits. Hands and feet ached they were so cold.
- Depression, foggy thinking, memory problems, anxiety and incredible fatigue were ignored as I had a head injury.
- Digestion issues, constipation, this ended up with having to have polyps removed. Very high cholesterol (LDL).
- Periods from hell ( I easily could fill an ice cream bucket with thick congealed blood resembling liver for each of the 7 days of my period. Up until I had the accident I never had periods unless I was taking oral contraceptives. this ended up in my having a hysterectomy and ovary removal.
- Bone Loss, calcification of joints ending in a total knee replacement and the bony growths on my feet meant I went from a medium width to a triple e (EEE) width. Severe Plantar faciitis
- PAIN–my joints ached so bad that for many years I hobbled around in agony and thought often of just ending it all. Lying in bed was even painful. How much pain was I in, you decide. I had my second total knee replacement, and my hysterectomy with no pain meds. I had my colonoscopy with no sedation, I had arthroscopy with no sedation only freezing of the knee joint.
- My breasts were so fibrocystic it was insane even trying to put a bra on due to the tenderness.
- Muscle cramps
- Low blood pressure (70/55)
- Shortness of breath
Quite the list isn’t it? I went to so many doctors trying to get help it wasn’t even funny. Here are some of the responses I am sure you will find interesting.
I actually packed in the bucket of blood to show the doctor as I felt she was not understanding that I meant a lot. She said as she patted my hand ‘look at it as a good cleansing”.
A different doctor (referred) re the pain…”there are lots of good pain clinics for people with chronic pain”.
Losing my hair, skin stuff, puffy face, weight gain, she said, “you are stressed, perhaps a hot relaxing bath;;”
LDL–It happens to everyone sooner or later.
Painful joint swellings/calcifications on my feet—–we can remove them but they will just grow back.
Weight gain–“You are eating more than you realize. A calorie is a calorie.
Haemorrhoids caused by the constipation—- Every six months or so we can go in and band the problem ones..
I never managed to ever get help with any of these problems. No one was interested in finding out why, it was all about isolation and treating a symptom and not the cause.
To date I am amazed at the unawareness running rampant. I am pasting what the Mayo clinic has to say:
I ask again how was it possible that I was not diagnosed??
The signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism vary, depending on the severity of the hormone deficiency. But in general, any problems you have tend to develop slowly, often over a number of years.
At first, you may barely notice the symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as fatigue and weight gain, or you may simply attribute them to getting older. But as your metabolism continues to slow, you may develop more obvious signs and symptoms. Hypothyroidism signs and symptom may include:
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Dry skin
- Unexplained weight gain
- Puffy face
- Muscle weakness
- Elevated blood cholesterol level
- Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
- Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
- Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
- Thinning hair
- Slowed heart rate
- Impaired memory
When hypothyroidism isn’t treated, signs and symptoms can gradually become more severe. Constant stimulation of your thyroid gland to release more hormones may lead to an enlarged thyroid (goiter). In addition, you may become more forgetful, your thought processes may slow, or you may feel depressed.
Advanced hypothyroidism, known as myxedema, is rare, but when it occurs it can be life-threatening. Signs and symptoms include low blood pressure, decreased breathing, decreased body temperature, unresponsiveness and even coma. In extreme cases, myxedema can be fatal.
Your thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland situated at the base of the front of your neck, just below your Adam’s apple. Hormones produced by the thyroid gland — triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) — have an enormous impact on your health, affecting all aspects of your metabolism. They maintain the rate at which your body uses fats and carbohydrates, help control your body temperature, influence your heart rate, and help regulate the production of proteins.
Hypothyroidism results when the thyroid gland fails to produce enough hormones. Hypothyroidism may be due to a number of
Untreated hypothyroidism can lead to a number of health problems:
- Constant stimulation of your thyroid to release more hormones may cause the gland to become larger — a condition known as a goiter. Hashimoto thyroiditis is one of the most common causes of a goiter. Although generally not uncomfortable, a large goiter can affect your appearance and may interfere with swallowing or breathing.
- Heart problems.Hypothyroidism may also be associated with an increased risk of heart disease, primarily because high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol — the “bad” cholesterol — can occur in people with an underactive thyroid. Even subclinical hypothyroidism, a more benign condition than true hypothyroidism, can cause an increase in total cholesterol levels and impair the pumping ability of your heart. Hypothyroidism can also lead to an enlarged heart and heart failure.
- Mental health issues.Depression may occur early in hypothyroidism and may become more severe over time. Hypothyroidism can also cause slowed mental functioning.
- Peripheral neuropathy.Long-term uncontrolled hypothyroidism can cause damage to your peripheral nerves — the nerves that carry information from your brain and spinal cord to the rest of your body, for example your arms and legs. Signs and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy may include pain, numbness and tingling in the area affected by the nerve damage. It may also cause muscle weakness or loss of muscle control.
- This rare, life-threatening condition is the result of long-term, undiagnosed hypothyroidism. Its signs and symptoms include intense cold intolerance and drowsiness followed by profound lethargy and unconsciousness. A myxedema coma may be triggered by sedatives, infection or other stress on your body. If you have signs or symptoms of myxedema, you need immediate emergency medical treatment.
- Low levels of thyroid hormone can interfere with ovulation, which impairs fertility. In addition, some of the causes of hypothyroidism — such as autoimmune disorder — also impair fertility. Treating hypothyroidism with thyroid hormone replacement therapy may not fully restore fertility. Other interventions may be needed, as well.
- Birth defects.Babies born to women with untreated thyroid disease may have a higher risk of birth defects than may babies born to healthy mothers. These children are also more prone to serious intellectual and developmental problems. Infants with untreated hypothyroidism present at birth are at risk of serious problems with both physical and mental development. But if this condition is diagnosed within the first few months of life, the chances of normal development are excellent.
Certain medications, supplements and even some foods may affect your ability to absorb levothyroxine. Talk to your doctor if you eat large amounts of soy products or a high-fiber diet or you take other medications, such as:
- Iron supplements
- Aluminum hydroxide, which is found in some antacids
- Calcium supplements
Eventually, I went to a naturopath and was diagnosed and put on Armour brand desiccated thyroid. It took a little over a year to get things balanced. My hair grew back….etc. I was grateful to only have the TBI stuff to deal with. THEN… BSE (mad cow disease) hit, and the naturopath could no longer get the dessicated thyroid.
I was forced to go back to a doctor to get a prescription for Synthroid (brand name for levothyroxine)